Week 8 of the 2019 MLS season finished with a battle of the titans atop the Western Conference. LAFC asserted its dominance with a 4-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders, led by Carlos Vela’s brace. Meanwhile, the crosstown rival L.A. Galaxy earned a hard-fought 2-1 victory over fellow contender Houston Dynamo. Both sides sent a message to the rest of the league that the MLS Cup may just go through Los Angeles.
Here is a look at our MLS Power Rankings after Week 8:
(Legend: (W-L-T, LW: last week’s rankings )
1. LAFC (7-1-1, LW: 1)
LAFC suffered its first loss of the season in a 1-0 upset at Vancouver, but that defeat proved to be nothing more than a fluke. Their 4-1 victory over Seattle could have been much worse. The Sounders had nothing to offer LAFC defensively and raised the question of whether or not there is a club in MLS that can stop them.
2. L.A. Galaxy (6-1-0, LW: 2)
The Galaxy is proving themselves as more of a contender than anyone anticipated before the season. Their talent level doesn’t match up with LAFC, but there is a toughness to the Galaxy that gives them an edge in most matches.
3. FC Toronto (4-1-1, LW: 7)
The 2017 Champions entered this season with low expectations, but FC Toronto continued its resurgence in a spirited 4-3 victory over Minnesota United FC. Jordan Hamilton scored two goals in three minutes late in the match to clinch the win.
4. Houston Dynamo (4-1-1, LW: 4)
Houston gave the Galaxy all it could handle this weekend on the road. The Dynamo are one of the more complete clubs in the league, which will keep them in contention all season.
5. Seattle Sounders FC (5-1-1, LW: 2)
The loss to LAFC exposed a huge problem on the left side of Seattle’s defense. If the Sounders are going to contend for another title, they will need to seal that gap in the back.
6. FC Dallas (5-2-1, LW: 8)
FC Dallas added more weight to Atlanta United’s struggles with a 2-1 road victory. Road victories like this will matter come November.
7. Philadelphia Union (4-3-1, LW: 12)
The Union’s hot run of play continued with a dominant 3-0 win over the Montreal Impact. There’s a case to be made that the Union are the second-best team in the Eastern Conference right now.
8. DC United (4-2-2, LW: 5)
Two devastating home losses make for serious questions about D.C. United’s place in the Eastern Conference. The talent is there to win the East, but they are far too inconsistent.
9. Chicago Fire (2-2-3, LW: 15)
This jump is based more on the club’s tough performances throughout the year and the poor outings by the Fire in the standings. Chicago’s 4-1 victory over Colorado was exactly what they needed.
10. Columbus Crew (4-3-1, LW: 6)
There is no excuse for the Crew’s 3-1 loss at home to the Portland Timbers – none.
11. Minnesota United FC (3-3-1, LW: 9)
Minnesota United has improved dramatically since the club’s first season, but their back line is a problem. There is little chance the club can survive the summer without help on defense.
12. Orlando City (3-3-2, LW: 16)
Orlando City could have five or so wins if a few more breaks went their way. Former Manchester United player Nani has made a huge difference with eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) this season.
13. NYCFC (1-1-5, LW: 18)
NYCFC performed well on the road for a second straight game in a 2-0 victory over then Eastern Conference leaders D.C. United. It appears that NYCFC has turned a corner after registering five ties in their first seven matches.
14. Montreal Impact (3-3-2, LW: 10)
Montreal had a chance to establish itself amid the top teams in the East with a win over Philadelphia. Instead, the Impact fell apart again on the road.
15. Sporting Kansas City (2-2-3, LW: 11)
Sporting Kansas City failed against another less-talented opponent. It’s time to question what’s going on with this club.
16. Real Salt Lake (3-4-1, LW: 17)
One of the surprises of the weekend was RSL’s 3-0 win at FC Cincinnati. FCC dominated much of the first half, but a late collapse gave Real Salt Lake everything they needed for the win.
17. FC Cincinnati (2-4-2, LW: 13)
FC Cincinnati’s woes continued, despite playing well early. It’s a long season, but expect more growing pains.
18. New England Revolution (2-5-1, LW: 20)
The Revolution struggled to score again, but they did enough to shut out the New York Red Bulls 1-0. Nonetheless, New England’s inability to score will keep the Revs buried in the standings.
19. Atlanta United (1-3-2, LW: 14)
No more benefit of the doubt for Atlanta United. The club is a mess on the field. There is no way to get around that.
20. New York Red Bulls (1-4-2, LW: 19)
What has happened to the Red Bulls?
21. San Jose Earthquakes (2-5-0, LW: 21)
Danny Hoesen’s brace was enough to seal the 4-1 upset victory over Sporting Kansas City. Don’t look now, but the Earthquakes are halfway to their win total from a year ago. San Jose’s marked improvement might not earn a playoff berth this season, but the club is on the right path.
22. Vancouver Whitecaps (1-5-2, LW: 22)
What a huge victory over LAFC earlier in the week!
23. Portland Timbers (1-5-1, LW: 24)
Raise your hand if you thought that Portland had a shot at beating the Crew in Columbus. The Timbers have improved over the past couple of weeks. That improvement came to a head with a huge upset.
24. Colorado Rapids (0-6-2, LW: 23)
Giving up nearly three goals per game will bury a team in last place. The Rapids have a long year ahead of them.